Conference/Workshop Bucket List

There are so many fabulous writing conferences and workshops out there! If I could, I would attend every one of them. As it is, I have a savings box designated for conferences and workshops, and bit by bit, I’ll get there.

In the meantime, I wanted to share them with you — perhaps you’ll want to put at least some of them on your conference/workshop bucket list, too.

The Picture Book Summit is a one-day online conference, unlike the other conferences on my bucket list. That means there’s no travel involved, no hotel accommodation or meals to plan for, and you can attend in your PJs if you want to, since no one actually sees you, you’re just sitting at your computer watching the conference unfold before your eyes.

The founders of the conference are Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Hedlund, Katie Davis and Laura Backes. Each year there are amazing keynote speakers (such as Tomie dePaola, Carole Boston Weatherford, Adam Rex) as well as workshops by picture book experts, agents, and editors.

It’s held the first Saturday in October each year. I attended in 2020, and learned so much.

To read more about it, click here.

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SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is an international organization for children’s writers and illustrators, and also for editors, publishers and agents. If you are a writer or illustrator, even if you’re just starting out, you owe it to yourself to join. It is worth every penny.

Every summer, they hold a HUGE international gathering in Los Angeles. I attended in 2011, and it was a great adventure, and an excellent learning experience. Every year, I yearn to be there again. Some day…

In 2020 and 2021, the conference was online, and making it a virtual experience made it possible for many more people to attend (including me in 2020). Still, I look forward to the day when this conference can be in person again, with perhaps a virtual component for those of us who can’t be there in person

You can read about one of the conferences here. (Although that particular conference is over, it will give you an idea of what it’s like.) Maybe I’ll see you there sometime!

SCBWI also holds an annual conference in New York City, in winter. This conference is on a smaller scale than the LA conference, but it still offers tons of opportunities to network with colleagues, to meet agents and editors, and to hear amazing speakers. I haven’t yet attended one, but some day…

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The Southampton Children’s Literature Conference (on New York’s Long Island — in The Hamptons) is part of the larger Southampton Arts Summer, and offers small, intensive workshops in picture books, middle grade novels, or young adult novels, led by a leading author in each genre. By small, I mean that only 12 writers are selected for each genre each year.

I attended in 2012, as a participant in Kate McMullan’s excellent Middle Grade workshop. The intensive classes take place in the mornings, while the afternoon is open for “cross-pollinating” — attending small workshops/seminars/panel discussions with others in the Arts Summer programs (adult writing, film, theatre, etc.) Evenings bring other opportunities for learning and broadening one’s outlook.

Again, in 2020 and 2021, they went virtual. Thank goodness for the ability to pivot to virtual experiences these days!

You can learn more at this link.

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The Southampton Writers Conference, in Southampton on New York’s Long Island,  is for writers of adult literature. How I would love to workshop one of my works-in-progress at this Conference some day! Read more about it here.

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Amazing authors Kate Messner and Linda Urban lead the Time to Write Revision Retreat which, according to Kate’s blog post “will include daily craft lectures from Linda and Kate, mentor-facilitated small-group critique sessions, lively community meals, and quiet work time.” And it’s on the shores of Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, New York (close to both the Vermont border and the Quebec border.)

Read about a past conference here, and join me in planning for some day…

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